Last Friday, it was revealed the University of Florida would allow Jake Schickel, a Jacksonville lawyer and UF football booster, to serve as the third-party counsel for the Title IX sexual assault case being heard against wide receivers Treon Harris and Antonio Callaway. Today, Callaway was cleared of the charges.
As part of a plea deal struck in relation to the Title IX case prior to the hearing, Harris announced his intention to transfer from Florida and was required to apologize to the accuser. Harris was previously accused of sexual assault by a Florida student in 2014; the case was dropped after the woman opted not to move forward with the case a day after Harris’s lawyer released a statement blaming the victim for her role in the incident.
As first reported by ESPN, the complainant in Callaway’s case protested the selection of Schickel, refusing to take part in Florida’s faux-hearing on the grounds the University’s inclusion of a football donor in the process went against Title IX’s standard of maintaining an unbiased hearing officer.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Schickel issued a four-page ruling today. Based on the evidence presented to him, and Callaway’s testimony that the woman was the aggressor and he was “so stoned I had no interest in having sex with anyone,” Schickel found the player not responsible for any university code of conduct violations. Callaway is the Gators’ top returning receiver this season and is expected to be the team’s No. 1 option out wide.
Based on his membership in both the Scholarship Club and 3-Point Club, the donor club for the Florida men’s basketball program, Schickel donated between $6,800-$13,598 to the Gators’ athletic department during the 2014-15 season.
The accuser’s lawyer, John Clune, offered the following statement to the Times’s Matt Baker.
“It wasn’t exactly a news flash that Mr. Callaway was going to be found not responsible,” Clune said. “It just seems like this whole situation, ever since we found out they were having a booster hear the case, is a disgrace, and it’s a disservice to everybody who is involved in this process.”
Clune also told Baker he does not expect his client to pursue further legal action or file an appeal with the school; as of now, Clune said the woman is not sure she will return to Florida for the fall semester.